Recite Me

Our Nurses. Our Future: Helen Bradley, Quality Matron

Helen shares her career journey and what excites her about the future of nursing.

Helen, is the Quality Matron for Mill Lodge and Children’s services. Here is her story…

Helen Bradley

My nursing career began way back in 1989, when I began my Registered Nurse training at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn. This was a time of the checked dress, the Velcro belt, the paper hats, and the cape! It was a time of no mobile phones, no internet and needing to go to the library to look at books and journals.  I loved my nurse training; I still have really fond memories of some of the patients I cared for and the placement experiences. Some of my highlights included being proposed to by a young man on the orthopaedic ward (I declined that one), having to pull myself over a river on a raft floating on barrels to reach a patient requiring a leg ulcer dressing, and carrying out my first intramuscular injection on one of the Nursing Officers.

Choosing which area to specialise in wasn’t a difficult decision; I absolutely loved working with children and families and knew immediately after my placement here, that this was where I wanted to develop my skills. The ethos around holistic care, nursing the child as part of the family unit, advocating for those whose voice is sometimes not heard and empowering families struck a chord which has influenced my career. I completed my Registered Sick Children’s Nurse training, and then moved into the community, training as a Health Visitor. Community life expanded my vision of healthcare and enabled me to see how people live on a day-to-day basis, within their communities. The NHS has given me the opportunities to contribute to healthcare improvements; I have been able to support the set up a Short Break Respite service, a Children’s Continence service and develop the Professional Nurse Advocate service. I have worked as a team leader and a modern matron and am now part NCH&C’s Quality team.

Continuous learning is incredibly important to me, and I am grateful for the opportunities I have been given throughout my career. Nursing requires us to be curious and to deliver clinically effective, high-quality care. There are so many opportunities and resources now for continued learning. Hand in hand with this is the need for us to be reflective practitioners, having the opportunity for regular clinical supervision to explore our successes and challenges.

I continue to be excited about nursing into the future. For children and young people, we are working locally to strengthen partnerships across the health sectors and work together to improve outcomes for children and families. Resources are limited and we have to be innovative and collaborative in our approach to achieve this. There are lots of challenges for us to face but along with this are areas for celebration.

I have absolutely loved my nursing career to date. Every day has been different; there have been moments of incredible sadness but moments of incredible joy. It has been an utmost privilege to share these moments with some amazing people.